Although it isn’t growing at quite the same clip as Telstra, Optus has also seen an impressive growth in its mobile broadband customer base, with 94,000 customers added over the last three months and a total pool of 1.55 million mobile broadband users. Does that also place it at risk of hitting a speed hump?
Picture by Alpha
It’s difficult to compare the results directly, since Telstra’s figures cover a six-month period while Optus’ figures (via parent company SingTel) are quarterly. But with Telstra adding 436,000 customers over six months, it seems to be acquiring customers at about twice the rate of Optus.
In performance terms, that’s good news for Optus: not growing so fast means it won’t see its networks saturated, and the consequent speed drops, quite as quickly. But it does have one disadvantage: Optus’ own plans for long-term LTE networks (which offer better speeds) aren’t as ambitious as Telstra’s.
As we’ve previously reported, Optus will begin LTE trials in Port Stephens and Newcastle in April this year, and will have service in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in the second half of the year. Those plans were reaffirmed in the latest results announcement, along with one small clarification: the next stage of the rollout will also be for capital cities. means Optus’ LTE option won’t be competing with Telstra’s in terms of regional coverage for quite a while. It also means that Optus can’t ease congestion on its older network by shifting data to the LTE network in many places. So while I’d say the risk of speed hump is less, it’s not non-existent.